Comparing and Contrasting Free SSL and Paid SSL Certificates: A Matter of Trust


August 9th 2018


Comparing and Contrasting Free SSL and Paid SSL Certificates: A Matter of Trust

As internet users pass information back and forth, this information will be transmitted in either plain or encrypted text. Secure socket layer (SSL) encrypts data to allow for a measure of security between customers and businesses, especially in the transmission of sensitive data and payment information. SilverServers has been offering SSL Certificates to businesses for more than 20 years.

SSL has evolved over the past few years, and is now a mandatory part of websites. This is to allow business owners to keep ahead of increasing hacking attempts and identity theft. You want to provide your customers with a completely secure experience that contributes to a long-term relationship built on trust. This has never been more important than in the present moment.

Unencrypted sites do not have basic or advanced HTTPS security protocol. Such sites have been down-ranked by search engines, and as of July 2018, unencrypted sites are marked in the URL as “not secure.”

Encryption protects data during its transmission between the browser on your computer and the website you are visiting, to ensure no one can tamper with the data or spy on user activity. Security threats to data moving online are prevalent and constant, especially if this data is unencrypted.

It is no longer a question of whether your business needs SSL or not. Now the question is what level of security does your business need. We at SilverServers can help you decide what level of SSL is suitable for your business. Website owners can choose between free SSL or paid SSL.

We do not recommend free SSL on websites that use e-commerce or that ask customers for sensitive user data. See below “at a glance” to find out why we recommend a commercial option.

If you receive hosting and/or e-mail services through SilverServers and presently do not have SSL on your website, we are happy to offer a set-up fee of $15 to install either Free SSL or Paid SSL. If you choose Free SSL, the free part kicks in after set-up.

Free and Paid SSL at a Glance

Free SSL Certificate Paid SSL Certificate
Domain or DNS Validation only – identity of website owner not validated; site more open to phishing attacks; owner accepts liabilities. Typically Email, Domain, DNS, and/or extended validations required. For extended validation, businesses must prove legal credentials; Paid SSL certificates typically include liability insurance.
Most basic security features and access to HTTPS protocol; protects channel between browser & website; unencrypted sites down-ranked and marked not secure. Level of encryption the same as free; more trust and features; protects channel between browser & website; unencrypted sites down-ranked and marked not secure.
Customers may not trust a website with free SSL, as it’s not suitable for business. SSL Certificate issued by a reputable Certificate Authority increases customer’s trust in providing sensitive information.
Not suitable for e-commerce as has no certification of authenticity. Business SSL Certificates certify business authenticity.
Okay for bloggers or web users who don’t ask for user data or payment info. A must for businesses, especially those asking for user data or payment info.
Limitations in customer support and in usage areas/may not be compatible with all hosting services. Dedicated customer support by experts who manage cyber threats/compatible with any hosting services.
Free SSL Certificates accessible, quick to set up and convenient; update at more frequent intervals than paid. Paid SSL Certificates renew at 1 and 2-year intervals.
Users will be confident that no one can interfere with data during transmissions. Your business can guarantee confidentiality and security of sensitive data during transmissions.


At the core of every successful relationship are trust and security. In the realm of online business, especially involving e-commerce and transmission of sensitive information, there are increasing outside threats to these core values.

This makes safeguarding your website of paramount importance. SilverServers would like to help you get on board with changes requiring you to install an SSL certificate on your business website. As mentioned earlier, we strongly recommend a Paid SSL Certificate over a Free SSL. Contact Us to discuss SSL installation, and assure your customers they can continue having the highest degree of trust in your business.

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